Bigfork Parent Raising Funds For Defibrillators

By Beacon Staff

Flyers hanging up in windows and on walls of Bigfork businesses have a picture of Jeffrey Bowman under the title “A.E.D. Fundraiser”. It’s an independent effort spearheaded by one mom to raise enough money to purchase 3 portable Automatic External Defibrillators.

The effort is in response to the death of high school student Jeffrey Bowman during football practice in August of 2007.

“What are we going to do the next time it happens?” says fundraiser organizer Serra Valentine. Valentine joins a group of parents pushing for the school board to adopt an emergency plan. The hope is for this fundraiser to succeed in getting enough portable defibrillators to be easily accessible to coaches as teams practice and play.

“Unfortunately, says Valentine, “most schools don’t have something in place until something like this happens.” At the October 1st, school board of trustees meeting Valentine told the board and the administration she had collected $1,570 from local businesses so far.

“In just two days, I took about three hours each day,” says Valentine, “we have enough for one.” Valentine says The Midnight Sun Gallery and Eric Thorson Gallery donated pieces of art, she’s currenty looking for a silent auction box, and then local banks have offered to host the silent auctions.

The fundraiser is not sponsored by Bigfork Schools.

“It’s totally independent,” explains Superintendent Russell Kinzer, “we don’t have a position on it one way or the other.”

Bigfork School District has benefited from independent fundraisers before; over the summer the Big Hat Group built and sold off a playhouse with all the funds donated to the Bigfork High School Science Program, and Kinzer says Friends of Bigfork Schools has done fundraisers at different times for specific programs or school needs.

The goal is $3,600 – enough for 3 portable A.E.D.’s. Checks need to be made directly to Bigfork School District #38 and must have the designation “For A.E.D” written on them. Bigfork’s mailing address is PO Box 188 Bigfork, MT 59911. Or contact Serra Valentine at 871-9471 for more information.